Factor 1. Actual and relative potential for abuse
In our opening post, we provided introduction to the CSA Eight Factors study. This post summarizes Factor One of the study, which is the actual and relative potential for abuse of kratom.
Duly noted in the study shows a marked contrast to that of its supposed counterpart, opiods.
In contrast to daily opioid use, such kratom consumption is more likely associated with beneficial occupational and social outcomes.
It goes on to further define the purposes of kratom of not being that of “getting high” but rather of an improvement to the quality of life, including increase labor capabilities.
Similarly, the scientific and ethnographic literature often describes kratom consumption as primarily motivated by the plant’s “useful,” “beneficial,” “labor sustaining,” “therapeutic,” “mood,” and “well-being” enhancing, and “instrumental” attributes. Additionally, some people list kratom use meant to act as a substitute for drugs to which they had become dependent.
…kratom consumption are the functional benefits of kratom consumption to enhance, sustain, and even enable occupational work demands.
Kratom is a natural occurring plant, unlike the synthetic opioids and therefore parallel with the likes of coffee and other caffeinated beverages.
There are parallels in motivations for consumption of coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages which are often reported as being used for its alerting effects, sustaining performance and enhancing mood.
It goes on further to describe the “worst-case” scenario of kratom.
The apparent worst-case scenario conditions for very heavy consumption appears to have been in SE Asia among laborers who were required to work at heavy labor tasks for long hours and often in extremely high heat conditions. Kratom leaves were plentiful and heavily relied upon to enable such work. This was described in The Chemist and the Druggist (1930) in a short article titled “Kratom Eaters” that described the effects of chewing 10–30 kratom leaves three times per day by laborers to prolong their ability to tolerate “arduous work”, extreme fatigue and “torrid heat…” and that “the habit is stated not to be harmful since the kratom eater does not change his character.”
And unlike other opioids, potential for high abuse are countered by its negative effects at high dosages, circumventing overdosing through its innate reactions.
Clinical reports and testimonials suggest that in contrast to the effects of increasing the dose of substances of high abuse potential (e.g., prototypic opioids, stimulants, and sedatives), increasing the dose of kratom is more likely to produce undesirable gastrointestinal effects, constipation, lethargy, and little additional mood enhancement.
Consumption of kratom is confined to oral use, to counter the reports that kratom is “injected” as the primary means.
On the other hand, in the US and SE Asia, the vast majority of kratom users appear satisfied to ingest leaf material in the form of extracts, beverages, and powdered leaf added to foods or swallowed as capsules.
We have surmised that kratom has reported a very positive Factor 1 score as it pertains to the actual and relative potential for abuse, one that is minimal, if at all.
Next up, Factor 2, which is the scientific evidence of its pharmacological effect, if known.